For the last few years it’s been a bit of a battle in general but that doesn’t always translate to bad. So you find out that your Autistic, you now have a name that explains that sense of being different, other. Surely that’s it? You now know who you are, you can tell others, share with the world, shout this is me, hello and bask in the warmth that comes with relaxing after a long journey.
You could do this, maybe some do. This did not work for me. When faced with reality I got a bit of a shock, to be fair it wasn’t like I should have been surprised, I wasn’t somebody who’s birthday it is walking through a door to find a room full of people shouting at me. I was the person who new that when I stuck my finger in the socket I would get a shock, I knew what it would be like but I carried on believing/hoping it would change everything.
This though is where it gets a bit more complicated because it did change everything, for me that is. It changed absolutely nothing for everyone else (that’s a little unfair, I should say that my wife is almost always the exception). I wanted to celebrate like the person who’s just reached the top of Everest, get a big banner and say, hey I’m Autistic not weird or mad or bad or strange. I wanted to talk about it to everyone, after all I’d been obsessed with Autism and finding out if I was Autistic for years.
Turns out that’s not how it works, firstly people don’t much care, that is to say they care about you as a person but it often is not that big a deal. Ambivalence was like a hammer blow, it just wasn’t that world defining, axis shifting moment to most people I knew. It’s much the same as when I heard a new theory on the formation of the solar system that involved Jupiter and Saturn being the closet plants to the Sun originally. This was genuinely mind blowing stuff, but often there are just big silent pauses after I tell people. I don’t know if I’ve put them in a coma or if they have forgotten that I’m the one who’s supposed to have social communication difficulties and they’ve mixed up our roles.
So this epic journey was mine and I guess you can’t really know that’s what it is unless you been on it yourself or travelled the path with someone else. That’s ok though because I know who I am, time to snuggle up in the knowledge that things would now be constant.
No, they were not and are not constant. WHY. Just stay still, be unmoving, solid, comfortable, reassuring and Ahhhhh. I had more learning to do about myself about what it means for me to be Autistic. Each day I am more accepting of my self and I find that something new will pop out. I worry about these something news but I always feel better, more relaxed and less anxious when I go with it.
I never stuttered before but do at times now, I means I can still express myself, when before I would have stayed silent. I walk with short steps on the outside of my feet with my toes pointing in sometimes. I don’t know why, but I do know I like it and it makes going out easier sometimes. There are many more to go with these, I love stimming.
I now increasingly occupy two worlds though, the one where I pass and the one in which I’m openly Autistic. Getting to know myself, having an answer, a direction to travel along on this journey feels like I’ve found somewhere I belong, a place to share and find empathy. The more I am exposed to this feeling of belonging, inclusion and acceptance the more I realise how much I have to hide and suppress to pass and the harder it gets. It can’t all be about me or others, surely it’s not just one or the other, there must be a balance. Will I find it, is there a middle.
Thanks for reading please like or share if you want and let me know what you think in the comments.
Aspie and Proud.